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Swinging it . . . Timaru man Peter Hayes is excited about playing in the North Otago Legends Pro-Am this weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Timaru golf nut Peter Hayes can’t wait to tee off at the North Otago Legends Pro-Am tomorrow morning.

Hayes is excited that the tournament will be held at the North Otago Golf Club for the first time.

“I think the guys will really enjoy the venue,” he told the Oamaru Mail

He has a bunch of golfing friends from Australia who are coming to Oamaru for the tournament.

Hayes started playing golf when he was 12 years old, at the Highfield golf club in Timaru.

“I went out with Dad one day, I managed to hit the ball, and away I went.”

After practising – and getting in a few lessons of golf – Hayes became passionate about the sport.

He played amateur golf until he turned 50, winning the senior club championship at the Gleniti golf club 20 times and playing over 70 matches in masters competition.

He was inspired to look into professional golf after watching a friend from Timaru compete in a Legends tournament in Australia.

When he turned 50, he decided to take a leap of faith, and after getting through qualifying school in Sydney, he achieved his goal of becoming a professional golfer.

Making friends with professional golfers he had watched and idolised was a dream come true, Hayes said.

He has enjoyed having rounds with well-known Australian golfers like Wayne Grady and Rodger Davis.

“To be able to actually play with them and become known by your first name and be friends is a bit of a buzz, really.”

Hayes believed the Legends circuit was the fastest growing golf tour in Australasia because many professional golfers were coming down from Europe to play in the event.

“The quality of golf is getting stronger and stronger.”

Although he was excited about introducing his friends to the North Otago course, Hayes was disappointed they would not have time to stick around and appreciate Oamaru.

Hayes joked he still had another two or three wins left in him.

“If you can cover your costs and have a good time, that’s what it’s all about,” Hayes said.

He plans to compete in 30 Legends tournaments this year.